Sights and excursions
Salzburg – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
A baroque city on the northern edge of the Alps, Salzburg is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sights on offer to visitors as they stroll through the old town are famous around the world: the Residence, the Glockenspiel, the cathedral, the Franciscan Church, Mozartplatz, Pferdeschwemme, Hofstallgasse, the Hohensalzburg fortress and St. Peter’s Abbey.
The best museums in Salzburg:
The Museum of Modern Art, the Rupertinum, Mozart’s birthplace, Mozart's residence, the cathedral museum, the baroque museum and the toy museum
Palaces in Salzburg and its surrounding areas
Mirabell Palace (with its marble hall for weddings and wonderful gardens), the Hellbrunn Palace (with its water features during the summer and a charming Christmas market in the winter), Klessheim Palace in Wals, Leopoldskron Palace and Aigen Palace
Tips for family excursions
Dachstein Giant Ice Cave
Location: a few minutes from the Schönbergalm near Obertraun.
The Castle of the Grail, Perceval’s Dome and King Arthur’s Dome: Behind these mythical names is a huge array of fascinating formations of ice and rock where you can marvel at the ice cave. Experienced cave guides will enthral you with stories of the magical underworld of the Dachstein.
Spectacular ice sculptures, gigantic curtains of ice and impressive icicles never fail to enchant. A mystical underground world of ice and rock that will captivate even the youngest visitors.
Please note: Visitors to the cave must be accompanied by experienced guides. Sturdy shoes and warm clothing are recommended. The temperature in the Dachstein Giant Ice Cave rarely exceeds freezing point. However, the excellent setup makes this a great trip out for children of all ages.
Hallstatt – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hallstatt is located on the Hallstätter See lake, around 15 km from Gosau. More than just a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hallstatt is also famous for having being recreated down to the smallest detail by architects in China.
On a narrow strip of land between the steep sides of the mountains and the lake, houses are densely packed, with some even built out over the water. This was once a very important site, with its main road running parallel to the lake shore and several narrow alleyways around the market square.
Hallstatt has a history stretching back 4,000 years, meaning there is plenty to see there. As well as the historic town centre, with its densely-packed houses, sights include a salt mine, Celtic burials, a prehistoric museum, the cemetery with its ossuary, and the ‘oldest pipeline in the world’.
How to get there: You can take the train to Hallstatt and cross the lake by ferry from the station to the town centre. Alternatively, you can drive to one of three large car parks and then take a shuttle bus or walk to the town centre. The town centre is closed to traffic.
Dachstein Mammut Cave
Location: a few minutes from the Schönbergalm near Obertraun.
The giant Mammut Cave never fails to impress with its incredible size and a range of colours that you would never expect to find below the Salzkammergut! The word 'Mammut', meaning “mammoth”, was chosen by its discoverers due to the enormous size of the underground spaces and passageways of this network of caves. So far, around 70 kilometres of passageways have been explored, about one kilometre of which can be seen during the tour.
Tours last around an hour and give visitors an idea of how the caves formed and how they were explored. They learn how huge volumes of water once flowed through the mountain and about the problems encountered by explorers in the Mitternachtsdom on their multi-day expedition into the cave.
In the Kingdom of Shadows, there are no boundaries to the imagination. Here, nature has painted its own pictures in white Alpine milk and brown iron oxide, creating names such as The Venus of the Cave and The Lady with the Hoop Skirt. Lastly, installations such as the Lichteinfall project and the Höhlenscan, created by the Linz University of Art, never fail to impress.
Please note: Wearing sturdy shoes and warm clothing is once again recommended when visiting this cave (guided tour required), as the temperature remains an approximate 4 degrees Celsius. Suitable for children.
Krippenstein bei Hallstatt – The Dachstein Shark and the Five Fingers
The Dachstein Shark is a spectacular attraction on the Heilbronn circular trail at the summit of the Krippenstein in Hallstatt, and offers visitors a glimpse into the pre-historic past of the Dachstein Massif.
Marvel at the impressive pre-historic hunters on their old hunting grounds. From the mouth of the Dachstein Shark you can see the fossilised pre-historic ocean floor, which is a popular spot for a photo opportunity with the Dachstein glacier in the background.
From the mountain station for the Krippenstein cable car, walk for about 30 minutes along the well-maintained Heilbronn circular trail in the direction of Heilbronner Kreuz until you reach the Dachstein Shark, which you can walk inside, constructed by the Bad Goisern company Deubler. Visitors can climb up a ladder to take in the view of the ancient ocean floor and the Dachstein from the mouth of the shark.
The Five Fingers are not for the faint hearted! This is probably the most spectacular viewing platform in the Alps, it is located just near the Dachstein Shark and juts out over a 400-metre precipice.
Hallstatt Salt Mine
Take the Panoramabahn lift up the mountain. The route takes you over the Mundloch into a unique underground world: Kilometres of tunnels originally carved out by hand over 3,000 years ago take you deep into the mountain. In cooperation with the Vienna Natural History Museum and the staff at Salinen Austria AG, a new Bronze Age Cinema has been built 400 metres underground in Hallstatt, and a story created using up-to-date scientific knowledge, about a fictitious early-bronze age resident of Hallstatt, called Udlo. Thousands of years of history are brought together with the latest technology to present the latest research in an impressive display. The temperature in the salt mine is a steady 8 degrees all year round. Warm clothing and sturdy shoes are recommended.
Enjoy a special experience with the whole family. Helicopter tours are available all year round.
- 20-minute-flight: Gosau-Zwieselalm-Postalm-Wolfgangsee-Bad Ischl-Hallstatt
- 30-minute flight: Around the Dachstein Mountains – along the southern wall of the Dachstein, through the Ennstal and via Hallstatt back to Gosau.
- 60 minutes flight: In 60 minutes you can fly all the way to the Großglockner (you can decide on your favorite route with the pilot). A brief stop in Zell am See is also possible.
- 90-minute flight: across Austria over the Alps all the way to Vienna or Innsbruck. You decide what you wish to see.